Elaine Stokes '87
Current job title and employer and briefly describe what it is you do: I am the Executive Vice President at Loomis Sayles.
Tell us a little about yourself: I currently live in Hanover, MA and spend a significant amount of my free time at my second home in Warren, VT. I work at Loomis Sayles, an investment management firm as an Executive Vice President. I co-head the Full Discretion team and I’m a senior portfolio manager on the team’s assets under management. I was also recently elected to the firm’s Board of Directors. Outside of work, it is important to stay grounded and reset whenever possible. I love to bike, hike, ski, do Pilates and practice mindfulness to stay centered.
I spend a significant amount of time supporting women through a number of organizations. I am Chair of the Boston board for the nonprofit, Strong Women Strong Girls, that actively works with college girls to mentor 3rd-5th-grade girls and in turn, provides the college mentors with a network of professional women to connect with. I started a women’s network at my firm, Women@Work, whose mission is to support, develop and champion women at the firm and in the industry. I am also a member of an industry group, FSWE, the Financial Services Women’s Executive alliance, which is working to attract women to the industry and retain, advance, and develop the women to add the diversity needed for the continued success of the business.
Can you describe your Saint Michael’s College experience: My experience at Saint Michael’s was one of huge personal growth. I left a very isolated, non-diverse, and somewhat sheltered childhood to attend Saint Michael’s. I truly stepped out of my comfort zone for the first time. I believe that what I learned about myself was as important as what I learned academically.
I gained important knowledge about what drives me, how I work best, what my desired role is in a team project and how to be a supportive friend and ally. I also gained the skills needed to learn on the job, ask questions when needed and use trial and error when needed. I also had way more fun than I should have, met amazing people and friends, and built memories that will be with me forever.
What advice would you give to current female students: My advice to current female students is continue to work hard and be intentional about your career as competition for good spots is still intense. Unfortunately, at this point, it is still true that men get hired for their potential and women get hired for their accomplishments.
My second piece of advice is to support one another. The only way we are going to change that sad reality is if we start supporting one another now. If we do this we can start to change the landscape and really create a future that is more diverse and more productive. The statistics, research, and trends are in our favor to bring diversity to the corporate world at the fastest pace ever.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations: Work hard, work together, and work outside of your comfort zone. If you do not feel a little uncomfortable you are not growing.
Do not underestimate the power of networking and visibility. Take advantage of opportunities such as employee resource groups and networks, volunteer opportunities, committees, teams and socials to get exposure across the organization.
Take advantage of any and all professional development opportunities that are presented to you. Knowledge is an advantage.
Build your own board of directors. Find people you can rely on internally, externally and personally, who will tell you the truth, and advise you along your journey.
What keeps you motivated and driven every day: I have stayed motivated by picking a career I love and continuing to grow and learn within it daily. There is nothing boring or static about managing money or people and I am fortunate enough to do both. I care deeply about my team, their careers, and their growth and I care deeply about producing the best returns for my clients. Loving what you do really helps.